ABA Banking Journal - April 2008 - (Page 50)
Telepresence: costly, hen remote communication with image was purely about video conferencing, executives had to contend with herky jerky images, color issues, sound delays, and other annoying irregularities. No longer. If you don’t mind a hefty investment and a dedicated conference line for bandwidth, you can benefit from a new generation of video conferencing known as telepresence—available over the last year and starting to get wider use. “It’s not cheap, averaging $300,000 for a conference-ready room for the highest-end systems,” says Claire Schooley, senior industry analyst, Forrester, who is based in their Foster City, Calif., office. “But if we are talking about conducting high stakes meetings where reading the subtleties of body language is a requirement, then these systems are ideal,” says Schooley. Calling telepresence wares from Cisco, Hewlett-Packard, Teliris, and Polycom “the Cadillac[s] of Videoconferencing” in a research note she co-authored last year, Schooley says that the expensive approach to virtual meets can make sense for a certain market: namely multinational corporations, corporations with many third-party service providers, particu- W By Lauren Bielski, senior editor larly those in remote geographic locations, and, those who want to meet more with a certain type of highly valued customer or partner. More recently, Schooley adds, tier-two telepresence units that don’t include the build out of a conference-ready room—one with ideal lighting and color palettes—but merely install high definition, immersive, full-aspect-ratio systems into an existing conference room, have been introduced at a slightly lower price point. And the name? “The name describes the lifelike images and sound quality that these units deliver,” Schooley says. Moreover, it’s what the technology isn’t—an intrusion on a person-to-person meeting experience—that’s key to these system’s appeal, says Howard Lichtman, president of the Human Productivity Lab, a consultancy specializing in visual collaboration, video conferencing, and telepresence systems. “Previous systems didn’t support a true experience of meeting a person,” says Lichtman. “This shows off fluid image presentation, natural flesh tones and colors, and has sound coming from the direction of the person doing the talking.” The brain, he explains, can be fooled into ignoring distance if certain visual cues look correct enough. But if anything is too off and they are, in Lichtman’s words, “talking 50 APRIL 2008/ABA BANKING JOURNAL Subscribe at www.ababj.com
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